Recommended Reads: October

Each month the TWC publishes four recommended reads on our website. Three of the recommendations are recent releases by a local Tasmanian writer, an Australian writer and a children’s writer. The fourth is a Tasmanian classic that you may not have got round to reading, or that you may not have read for a long time. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the recommended Tasmanian classic, please feel free to pop into the library at the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and borrow a copy from us.

We would love to hear what you think of our picks – let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

This month we also have a great competition for you. We have two copies of Wild Island by Jennifer Livett, two copies of Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford, and a pack of three books by Net Brennan (including our recommended read Sportsmanship) to give away.

Drop our Community Engagement officer Ruth an email on with ‘October Reading Competition’ in the subject line, and let her know which book or books you’d like to be in the running for. Winners will be selected at random on Monday October 31st and notified by email.

Wild Island cover

Tasmanian recent release: Wild Island, Jennifer Livett (Allen and Unwin, September 2016)

Jennifer Livett’s wonderful debut novel provides an alternative ending to Jane Eyre, set not in England but in Van Diemen’s Land.

This rich and vibrant recreation of a nineteenth century novel entwines Jane Eyre’s iconic love story with Sir John Franklin’s tale of exploration and empire. A historically accurate depiction of Van Diemen’s Land society in the 1800s, as well as a vivid portrayal of the human cost of colonisation, Wild Island shows us that fiction and history are not so different after all. Every story – regardless of whether it is truth or fiction – is shaped by its teller.

Jennifer Livett was born in Hampshire but moved to Tasmania with her family when she was still a child. She spent most of her life here, completing a PhD in English and becoming a tutor and lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tasmania. After retirement she enrolled in printmaking at the Tasmanian School of Art and contributed work to several exhibitions in Hobart. She now lives in Sydney.

Fight Like a Girl cover

Australian recent release: Fight Like a Girl, Clementine Ford (Allen and Unwin, October 2016)

This is a book to make you laugh, cry and long for a more equal world. Fight Like a Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be. Writer and speaker Clementine Ford shares personal stories of anxiety, anorexia, abortion and her birth as a feminist. This is an accessible and essential read.

Clementine Ford is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and a regular contributor to The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Through her twice-weekly columns for Daily Life Clementine explores issues of gender inequality and pop culture. Her ability to use humour and distilled fury to lay bare ongoing issues affecting women has earned her a huge and loyal readership.

Clementine’s work has radically challenged the issues of men’s violence against women, rape culture and gender warfare in Australia, while her comedic take on casual sexism and entertainment has earned her a reputation as an accomplished satirist.


Sportsmanship Net Brennan

Children’s recent release: Sportsmanship, Net Brennan (Black Dog Books, June 2016)

Australia was a cricket team before it was a nation. In 1868 a group of skilled Aboriginal cricketers toured England to represent our six independent colonies, which were still 33 years away from Federation. It is significant that Australian colonists formed national cricket teams decades before they bothered with Federation. Many nations boast a love of sport but in Australia, this passion defines us.

Many sporting yarns are a charming part of Australian tradition, such as the clay perfume bottle that was given to the English cricket captain by his Australian sweetheart (The Ashes), as well as the talented cricketer, a grandson of convicts, who helped write the oldest rules for any football code in the world (Australian Football).

Together, these tales also tell a larger story of our nation’s history, including: how the first Melbourne Cup was poorly attended because of the deaths of outback explorer Burke and Wills; why the conscription campaign of World War I targeted a boxer from rural New South Wales; how Bradman and Phar Lap brought together the nation in the Great Depression; and how an Indigenous athlete named Cathy Freeman, running at the Sydney Olympics, gave Australians a vision of how great our nation can be when we share a common dream.

Sport is a topic that many of us love. This book celebrates our passion and uses it to engage young people in reading and our history.

Net Brennan lives in Hobart with her husband, three children and a fluffy dog. Net has 20 years of experience as a feature writer, magazine editor and sports journalist, and is also a qualified English/History teacher. Our Stories: Child Convicts was her first book with Walker.

If you’re a teacher you might be interested in these classroom ideas and learning resources based on the content in Sportsmanship.

Postcards from the Asylum


Tasmanian classic: Postcards from the Asylum, Karen Knight (Pardalote Press, 2008)

Published in 2008, this was the fifth collection of poetry from Karen Knight. Prior to publication, it won the Arts ACT 2007 Alec Bolton Award for an unpublished manuscript.  It also won the 2005 Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship Award and the 2011 University of Tasmania Prize for best book by a Tasmanian publisher.

In 2016, Karen Knight won the Blue Giraffe Press Award for Recent Poetry for this collection. The $10,000 award was for a 40+ page poetry collection published in the last 5-10 years.

There are almost 80 poems in this collection, all of which arise from Knight’s experiences as an inmate at the Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital in 1969. Don’t let that dark premise put you off – they are far more full of irony and wry laughter then they are self-pitying.

Karen Knight lives in West Moonah with her percussionist husband, a cat and a bantam hen. She has a daughter and two grandchildren. Karen has been widely published and anthologised since the early 1960’s. She has written four collections of poetry, her most recent, Postcards from the Asylum (Pardalote Press, 2008) won the 2005 Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship Award, the 2007 Arts ACT Alec Bolton Award and the 2011 University of Tasmania Prize (Tasmania Book Awards) for best book by a Tasmanian publisher.